Chaffin Family Orchards

Three wonderful weeks at Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, CA have come to a close. After over 2 months in California we are now exploring the wild coasts and farmlands of Oregon.

Chaffin Family Orchards, just to recap, is a 2,000 acre northern California farm. On those 2,000 acres they have 100 year old olive trees, citrus trees and many other fruit trees. The farm has a butte called Tabletop Mountain and it’s own lake. They also raise goats, chickens, sheep and beef. Everyone has more than one job. For instance, the goats serve as both brush control in the orchards as well as meat on the table.  The family’s son, Josh, has his own chicken breeding program and hatchery setup. Of particular note is that the farm is Certified Predator Friendly, meaning that their farming practices don’t infringe on the native mountain lions, bears, coyotes and other critters. They protect with electric fence and guard dogs that are raised and live with the livestock.

Our time at Chaffin flew by. Nate seemed to be an asset with his carpentry skills. Under his hands, and the boy’s, eight chicken yurts were repaired or built from scratch. He also constructed a special egg-mobile (see pictures below) that will be able to go between the rows of orchard trees instead of just around the perimeter.

The kids were able to have their fill of wide open spaces, tree climbing, fort building, cuddling and caring for animals of all sorts, catching salamanders and squirrels, earning money in the garden, and seeing another family that is eating the same healing diet we are:) We also celebrated Animal Lover’s 4th birthday up on the Tabletop Mountain with a cookout and bonfire.

Carol Albrecht is third generation Chaffin and is also a Chapter leader for the Weston Price Foundation. It was thrilling to have easy access to amazing food. In the “traditional food” world Chaffin Family Orchards is a shining light and they have hosted some of the great minds of biodiversity like Joel Salatin and Michael Pollan. I was also able to collaborate with Carol on her GAPS class…and fumble my way through being interviewed for her class, about our experiences on GAPS. (You know…the part about 6 detoxing people in an Airstream:)  Carol and her husband Curt, and their son Josh, have been on the GAPS protocol for a couple of years and have improved some serious health conditions in their family. Our visit to Chaffin seems to have been providential. We were further educated in GAPS, able to collaborate on recipes and share meals, boosted and encouraged, given work that was fulfilling in a beautiful setting, given access to really good food…and Nate helped them get over a few construction hurdles that were holding up some of their projects.

Here are some pictures of our stay at Chaffin with descriptions below. Enjoy!


Charlotte enjoyed the baby acrobats (i.e. lambs) and the boys construct the skeleton of the chicken yurts, which allow the meat chickens to roam in the orchards and have shelter at night. A guard dog also lives with the chickens and a solar powered electric fence surrounds their movable area.


Momma goat with new babies. A picture of some of the goat herd, who are also protected by movable solar powered electric fence and live-in guard dogs (who think they are goats too because they were raised with them as puppies). The goats will eat the suckers at the base of the trees and also harmful plants like poison oak, etc.


Charlotte with 1 day old baby goat. Nate at the beginning stages of building the California Animal Welfare approved egg-mobile.


Charlotte with Josh’s baby goats. My Carpenter Extraordinare, still working on the egg-mobile.


One of the momma sheep with her babies. Chickens converting bugs into glorious eggs!


Jack gets to lend a hand in building the egg-mobile. Jack and Maggie trying out the egg boxes.


New broiler chicks. Charlotte and Maggie get to try their hand at milking Shasta.


Norma, one of the very valuable farm hands at Chaffin…she is a milking machine! Charlotte loves rubber boots and what they allow her to do.


Charlotte’s mountain top birthday party…the kids caught some tadpoles.


Nearly finished egg-mobile with the roof hatches raised…the roof is low profile so that it can fit under orchard branches and raise so the birds get plenty of ventilation…the egg boxes can be accessed from the outside of the trailer. The chickens roam freely eating grass in the orchard during the day and take refuge in the egg-mobile at night, which is moved to a new area every few days.


Cade and Josh climbing an avocado tree. Me, picking some of the most incredible tasting tree-ripened oranges.


Charlotte picking oranges and a shot of the citrus groves.


More shots of Charlotte’s birthday party. The lake on top of the butte used to provide hydropower to the farm (1st generation era)

  Shasta, Queen of the Pasture and another one of those amazing creatures that transfers green grass into liquid gold.


About Melanie Christner NTP, CGP

I am a Nutritional Therapist & GAPS Practitioner in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I help families gain back their energy, digestive health, and robust immune systems...using targeted lab testing paired with nutrient dense whole foods. Find out more at
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9 Responses to Chaffin Family Orchards

  1. Once again, I am filled with conflicting emotions of being so proud of you all, and being so stinkin’ jealous! Thanks for the updates and the beautiful pictures. You are missed!

  2. Melanie, it was such a pleasure to have you & the family stay here. You were all a great help and wonderful company. Best of luck on your journeys and come back to visit any time!

  3. Aunt Sally says:

    What an awesome experience! I am very jealous. I think you have goats, chickens and a milk cow in your future!

  4. vesna says:

    Most awesome! Thanks for sharing the post 🙂

  5. Hey Mel, have you stumbled upon this blog yet?

    She’s from Portland, OR. I just found her because she responded to the Earth Day post I contributed on Deeper Story yesterday. THought you might be interested – especially since you’re in the area right now.


    • We are already past Portland or I would look her up, I love their artisan Food Swap idea. I did get to visit a CSK (community supported kitchen) that cooks up Nourishing Traditions style local farmer’s food. There is a lot going on in Portland:)

  6. P.S. Tell Nate I want a chicken trailer too. And, I might have a SERIOUS candidate for the GAPS diet. I forwarded some info to Gabe’s Latin teacher – he has a variety of gastro issues ever since traveling overseas years ago and has been on a laundry list of medications to no avail. Now he has poor circulation etc. etc. Anyhew, he is SO interested in GAPS and said that this summer would be the perfect time for him to start because he goes home to live with his parents (he attends YALE div.) and his mom would love to prepare all the food for him – she has already been dabbling in ancient and traditional food research and such.

    I gave him the links you sent me and he’s going to let me know if he would like to talk to you as well. 🙂


  7. Pingback: Immunity Influencer #2

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